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File: Side Effects
Side Effects is a 2013 psychological thriller-neo-noir film directed by Steven Soderbergh from a screenplay written by Scott Z. Burns.
The film stars Jude Law, Rooney Mara, Catherine Zeta-Jones and Channing Tatum. The film concerns the ramifications of an event following a young woman being prescribed antidepressant drugs.
Emily Taylor's (Rooney Mara) husband Martin (Channing Tatum) is released after serving a four-year prison sentence for insider trading. Shortly afterward, Emily drives her car into a concrete wall in an apparent suicide attempt. Jonathan Banks (Jude Law), her assigned psychiatrist, fears for her safety, but he agrees to release her from the hospital as long as she frequently attends sessions with him. Emily tries a series of SSRI anti-depressant medications, but none of them work. Jonathan contacts Emily's previous psychiatrist Victoria (Catherine Zeta-Jones), who suggests that Jonathan put Emily on the new drug Ablixa. Jonathan is reluctant to put Emily on the experimental drug until she attempts suicide a second time by trying to jump onto a subway track. The medication works, enabling Emily to function normally besides occasional sleepwalking episodes, a side effect of the drug. One night, she stabs Martin to death while sleepwalking.
Emily is brought to trial, and Jonathan fights for her acquittal. Jonathan is criticized publicly for fumbling Emily's case, and his colleagues assume he has been negligent due to his heavy work-load. Emily eventually agrees to an insanity plea deal; she is declared not guilty on the condition that she stay in a mental institution until cleared by a psychiatrist.
When Jonathan confronts Victoria with this information, she mails photographs to Jonathan's wife implying he had an affair with Emily; Jonathan's wife and son leave him. Jonathan manages to turn Emily and Victoria against each other by using legal means to prevent contact between them, then lies to them, making each believe that her partner had sold her out to Jonathan for a better deal. Emily reveals the workings of the plot to him: she enjoyed the rich life and hated Martin for causing her to lose it. She specifically went to Victoria for counseling as she, too, had been abandoned by her husband, and the two began a relationship. They taught each other about the workings of the financial world and faking psychiatric disorders. They then went to elaborate means to fake the side effects of the drug in order to manipulate the stock prices of Ablixa's manufacturer and its competitor, allowing the duo to become rich through the change in stock prices.
Jonathan agrees to release Emily from the psychiatric ward under his care. Wearing a wire, she immediately re-unites with Victoria, who admits details of the plot to Emily. Victoria is arrested for conspiracy to commit murder, but Emily, due to double jeopardy, can no longer be held criminally responsible for her part in Martin's murder. As retaliation for Emily's part in the plot, Jonathan, who still technically oversees her case, prescribes her a series of unnecessary drugs with serious side effects, including one that induces a zombie-like state, threatening to send her back to the ward if she refuses. Furious, she rants about all that she has done to avoid being sent to prison for Martin's death. Unbeknownst to her, Martin's mother, her lawyer, and a police officer are all outside the room and heard every bit of the confession. The police take Emily into custody and send her back to the mental ward. In the final scene, Jonathan has regained his normal life with his wife and son, and Emily sits in the ward, staring blankly out the window. A psychiatric nurse asks Emily how she's feeling, and she responds by saying apathetically, "Better. Much Better."
Side Effects, previously titled The Bitter Pill, is directed by Steven Soderbergh, produced by Lorenzo di Bonaventura, Gregory Jacobs, and Scott Z. Burns who also worked on the screenplay. In January 2012, the film was reported to be produced by Annapurna Pictures. A few weeks later, Annapurna Pictures pulled out from the project resulting in Endgame Entertainment financing the project.
Filming started on April 5, 2012 in New York City. The first pictures of the set surfaced on April 10, 2012.
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